WAMU 88.5 : News

Norton: Mandela's Story Can Serve As Inspiration For Younger Generations

Play associated audio

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is hoping that teachers across the District use today to teach lessons about the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Many lawmakers had already left the U.S. Capitol before Mandela's death was announced yesterday evening. But as one briefing in the House was wrapping up, staffers and a lawmaker began whispering to their neighbors, quietly passing their phones to share the news that a titan had died.

It's a loss that's being felt deeply by older Washingtonians, including Norton, who was among those who took part in protests against apartheid outside the South African Embassy. In the wake of Mandela's passing, she says she also wants the District's children to know Mandela's story.

"It is an occasion to make young people understand why there is such an outpouring at the death of Nelson Mandela. When they see what is happening they will want to know,  'What is there about this man?' So this is an important educational moment for teachers and educators," she says.

Norton says generations to come have a lot to learn from Mandela. She says his legacy "is unselfish leadership, selfless leadership, leadership offered when you get nothing in return. And in his case he got less than nothing — he spent 30 years in jail. And instead of bringing bitterness out of such a long captivity, he brought a model of leadership we seldom see in the world anywhere today," she says.

Congress is out for the rest of the week, but lawmakers are expected to honor Mandela when they return to Washington next week.


Far From 'Infinitesimal': A Mathematical Paradox's Role In History

It seems like a simple question: How many parts can you divide a line into? The troublesome answer was square at the root of two of Europe's greatest social crises.

Soup to Nuts, Restaurants Smoke It All

While you won't find cigarettes in restaurants anymore, some smoking isn't banned. It's not just meat, either; it's hot to smoke just about anything edible.
WAMU 88.5

Virginia Remains At Odds With Feds On Medicaid Expansion

Lawmakers in Virginia continue to resist the $9.6 billion Medicaid expansion on offer from the federal government as part of the Affordable Care Act.


Watch For The Blind Lets You Feel Time Passing

A new watch allows the blind to feel time on their wrists. Designer Hyungsoo Kim tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn his watch allows users to tell time accurately without revealing their disabilities.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.